Video: New India-UAE council to boost cross-cultural exchange, Festival of Ideas at Expo 2020 Dubai intends


Dubai: The recently announced “India-UAE Cultural Council” will see myriad cross-cultural exchanges between the two countries, senior officials said Sunday at the “Be Inspired: Festival of Ideas” event at the India Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai.

It follows Friday’s historic signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the two countries on Friday.

The new cultural council was discussed at Be Inspired: Festival of Ideas at the India Pavilion at Expo. The two-day festival explores innovation across sectors, with key speakers from India, the United Arab Emirates and beyond.

Board missions

The new cultural council will foster even closer cultural cooperation between the UAE and India, a UAE minister said on Sunday during the opening session of the event. The UAE and India agreed to establish the new council under several partnerships in a joint vision statement by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of Forces armies of the United Arab Emirates and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. , which followed the signing of CEPA.

The council will be responsible for promoting facets of common history, facilitating and promoting intercultural exchanges, cultural projects, exhibitions and dialogue between opinion leaders, explained Omar Saif Ghobash, deputy minister of diplomacy Public and Cultural Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, whose office was assigned to coordinate the initiative with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Omar Saif Ghobash speaking at the event
Image credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

With the council’s announcement, the two countries are ready to explore common cultural heritage to pave the way for future shared collaborations, Ghobash said during the opening session titled “The UAE and India: A Shared History “.

Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Collaboration

Speaking to Gulf News later, he said the two countries have already finalized a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish cultural collaborations between the two countries. He added that Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, had himself taken an interest in the drafting of the MoU.

“There was a great response from the Indian side, and from us as well. My team worked on this document for a few weeks. And finally, this was acknowledged in the official declaration of the meeting of Indian and Emirati leaders. So it’s a big step forward,” Ghobash said.

He added that the two sides were already working on developing ideas.

“We already know what kind of things we want to do. And the idea is to get as many connection points as possible between Indian cultural actors and Emirati actors as well. And hopefully that will be a model for how we can do that with other countries.

The minister said he would prefer “a low cost approach and look at the big impact”.

The festival was opened by Indian Ambassador to the UAE Sunjay Sudhir.

During the session, Ghobash and former Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri discussed possibilities of involving Emiratis in cultural events organized by the Indian expatriate community, organizing Emirati student internships in India, student exchange programs and the participation of Emirati delegations in cultural events. in India.

Ghobash said the first such visit will take place during the upcoming Jaipur Literature Festival.

Identify gaps

Suri, who is currently a Distinguished Fellow of the Delhi-based independent global think tank Observer Research Foundation and co-chair of the FICCI committee for the India Pavilion, identified a gap in Emirati participation in the large number of cultural events organized by Indian expatriates who make up a third of the country’s population.

“Much of the Indian cultural activities that we see in the UAE are aimed at the Indian community. We have a collective responsibility to solve this problem,” Suri said.

He added that young people in the UAE and India are looking towards the West rather than looking at each other. “We have to get them to talk to each other.”


Former Indian Ambassador to UAE Navdeep Singh Suri addresses the rally
Image credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

While Suri offered to find ways to connect writers, thinkers and intellectuals, Ghobash pointed out that there is a lot of room for translation between the literature of the two countries.

The festival is organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), in partnership with the Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy (OPCD) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, the flag of India and VFS Global.

The festival was organized by Teamwork Arts, India’s leading art and culture curation company and producer of the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival.

Sanjoy K Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, moderated the opening session.

The first day of the event also saw sessions on travel and technology, the space sector and the creative economy.


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